Hours after Elon Musk's business partner said the entrepreneur could start a real-life Jurassic Park if he really wanted, Musk himself revealed exceptionally exciting news for one of his many companies: they've taught a monkey to play Pong with its mind. The founder of SpaceX, Tesla, Paypal, and countless other companies using cutting-edge technology also happened to start Neuralink, an outfit focused on crafting various kinds of neurotechnology. It's that same neurotech that has allowed Neuralink to teach a monkey how to play pong with its mind.
Thursday, Neuralink released a video of Pager, a nine-year-old Macaque, playing Pong with his mind. According to a voiceover on the video, the company accomplished this by teaching Pager how to coordinate with a joystick and a basic square-tracking game. Each time Pager was able to navigate the cursor with the joystick and land the correct square, he was rewarded with a little bit of a banana smoothie.
Monkey plays Pong with his mind https://t.co/35NIFm4C7T— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 9, 2021
Using the Neuralink device, the company was able to use Pager's neural activity to calibrate a decoder that then allowed him to control a game of Pong using the device embedded in his brain.
In a release shared to the company's blog, Neuralink officials say they hope to use the advancements to give people with paralysis the ability to use digital apps such as texting or playing video games.
"After that, we intend to use the Link to help improve the lives of those with neurological disorders and disabilities in other ways," the company says. "For example, for people with paralysis the Link could also potentially be used to restore physical mobility. To achieve this, we'd use the Link to read signals in the brain and use them to stimulate nerves and muscles in the body, thereby allowing the person to once again control their own limbs."
Just this February, Musk expressed interest in having a pair of apes play Pong with each other using their minds and Neuralink implants. Now, it appears the entrepreneur and his team are on the cusp of fully realizing that match-up.